The Best Place to Start a Sales Enablement Program is Where You Are NOW!

By David Kriss (@DavidKriss)

The Best Place to Start a Sales Enablement Program is Where You Are NOW!

I recently attended a sales leadership conference where the topic of Sales Enablement was well represented and attended.  One of the keynote sessions dove into a comprehensive model of the components, considerations and best practices.  Good geeky consulting stuff.

As I left the session I ran into Brian, a VP of Sales Enablement at a Fortune 500 company, with whom I had a few beers with the night before.   I asked Brian, “So what did you think about that model?   Do you see yourself in it?”   The first words that came out of his mouth were, “I am overwhelmed!   It’s not obvious where to start.  I really don’t have time to deal with this right now.”  (Actually, the language was more colorful!  I’ve just taken the liberty to smooth the edges).

Brian’s reaction was not uncommon that day.  There is no shortage of Sales Enablement models, but there is a shortage of executional patience where you feel you’re on a productive path and not wasting time and resources.

So forget all the models for a second.  In my experience with building successful Sales Enablement programs, the best place to start is where you are NOW!   Start with ONE initiative where Marketing, Product, Training, Sales Ops and each have a stake in success.  Yes, that’s it.  ONE initiative.

The typical approach that often fails is to take on a model and attempt to generalize people and process changes without a clear site to immediate value.   Having cross functional skin in the game with one relevant initiative keeps the project high priority with current workloads.

Also, executing ONE initiative, beginning to end, with the resources you have at your disposal will expose your strengths to build on and weaknesses to mitigate.

Defining Initiatives

At the end of the day, an initiative is just a cross functional project that has a measured business impact.  The key is measured impact. This is WHY leadership will care to invest in a sales enablement program long term.

These initiatives fall into three categories. They typically follow a compelling event, such as, a merger/acquisition, market response/shift, leadership change or annual goal setting (SKO).

Can you identify with one or more of these?

  1. Go-to-market change
    1. Product, price, promotion
    2. Market – vertical, global
    3. Brand/Messaging
  2. Sales organization transformation
    1. Seller expansion – including Channel / on-boarding
    2. Seller consolidation
    3. Re-organize sales structure
    4. Sales process / methodology change
  3. Operational change
    1. Content portal consolidation
    2. Technology stack consolidation

Again, consider cross functional, measured success as the filter for identifying a meaningful initiative.

Once identified, you now have a common rally point to create a sustained experience for a seller that leverages current resources and capability to achieve value.

Creating “the experience” for a seller and other enablement stakeholders is the tip of the spear to initiative success and identifying where to incrementally invest in building a sustained program.

So start by identifying and defining what your ONE initiative is.  We’ll discuss how to create a sustainable seller experience and Sales Enablement program in my post next month.  Stay tuned!

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